What Is Native Advertising?
Native advertising is essentially a unique form of advertising which suits the nature and function of the web platform upon which it appears. In most instances it acts more like an ad, and is presented as a text-based article, video or editorial. However in other cases it may be presented as a native application, such as an interactive shopping guide, search engine widget, or a bookmarking site. In this article we'll go over some common forms of native advertising on the web.
One of the most commonly seen forms of native advertising is the editorial content ad. This is often used on websites that are predominantly informational in nature. The reason for the shift towards editorial content is to associate the user with the content, as well as make it look more professional. For example a feature article may appear in an "About" or "Breakthrough" style publication, in which case it would look completely out of place alongside an article about kitchen gadgets. But if the content is an editorial summary of the feature article, it will fit in perfectly.
Another example of editorial content native advertising occurs when marketing a product within a forum or blog. This kind of advertisement tends to be placed by a company as either an aside or an added extra. It's not designed to benefit the reader directly, but to make a point about the product. Often it will contain links to external sites where the customer can find more information on the product. In this context it is very different from a full advert.
Another very popular form of native advertising occurs when web companies create their own in-house search engine optimisation (SEO) service. These sites usually appear in a sponsored listing at the top of the SERPs. The main reason behind the placement is that the company believes that its services warrant a prominent listing. The advertorial has the potential to benefit the business and boost search engine visitor numbers for a long time to come, as long as it is well written and gives useful information. If the SEO service is done properly, the listing may last considerably longer than most similar adverts placed outside of the SEO context.
One final example of native advertising is often seen on social media platforms. There are many social networks out there and each one of them has different ways in which people get promoted. Some allow for simple ads that show up wherever a user types in a keyword, while others use more sophisticated methods. So for instance, the popular StumbleUpon website allows users to "like" items they want to see, so if a user searches for "blog posts" in a given area they are likely to see a listing of blog posts related to that search topic. The nature of this type of promotion means that users need to have a certain level of knowledge about the items they are promoting and the type of user experience they expect.
When it comes to native advertising, publishers have a choice between sponsored results and contextual results. Sponsored results are seen by all users and can lead to higher CTR (click through) rates and hence higher overall earnings from the campaign. Contextual results are only shown to users who have chosen to view them, which makes them less aggressive, but still relatively effective. In a paid campaign, publishers typically offer sponsored results to affiliates who advertise on their site. The advertisers are only paid based on the revenue generated by the actual ad unit, not based on the number of impressions. This is the best option for publishers looking to improve conversion rates without spending a penny on advertising.
Finally, there is another form of native advertising which is entirely search-engine friendly. This type of marketing tends to be less intrusive and in some cases, it can actually result in higher click through rates due to its minimal approach. It is called PPC Marketing and it works by placing text or image ads on relevant pages with corresponding search terms. These ads are usually small and fit nicely into a user's existing search requests, so that the user does not even notice they are there.
PPC marketing has become extremely popular, especially on social media sites like StumbleUpon, where people are constantly searching for new and different things to buy. A great example of this would be StumbleUpon's latest campaign, sponsored tweets. PPC marketing is also useful in the context of online marketing as it is generally easier to target specific searchers than to blanket the web with your advertisements. Native advertising is the best way to do this because it is targeted, effective and most importantly, is free.